Investigate 'abuse of state resources': DA

By Drum Digital
30 April 2013

The Gupta family's use of the Waterkloof Air Force Base in Pretoria constitutes an abuse of state resources and should be investigated, the DA said on Tuesday.

"Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa and other government departments responsible for allowing the Guptas free reign of public resources must be held accountable," Democratic Alliance spokeswoman Dianne Kohler-Barnard in a statement.

"I am writing today [Tuesday] to Auditor General Terrence Nombembe requesting that he investigate the abuse of public resources for the benefit of the Guptas," she said.

Earlier on Tuesday, Eyewitness News reported that the Guptas' wedding guests were flown to the base and were escorted from there by blue-light vehicles to Sun City, in North West.

The family, which owns The New Age newspaper and Sahara Computers, is expected to celebrate the wedding of Vega Gupta, 23, to Indian-born Aaskash Jahajgarhia at Sun City between May 1 and 4.

Gupta family spokesman Haranath Ghosh said in a statement that the authorities granted permission to land at the base to the Indian High Commission, and not the family.

The base was used because Lanseria airport could not accommodate the size of the jet chartered by the family.

"Naturally, suitable protocol was used to receive and transport the foreign ministers to the wedding," he said.

The SA National Defence Force said it had not given any private citizen permission to land at the base and knew nothing about private jets offloading guests at the base.

Barnard said: "This incident shows how much influence the Gupta family has over government."

"Public resources for pals has become the order of the day. The DA will not allow this to happen. We will get to the bottom of this flagrant abuse of resources."

-by Sapa

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